Latest news

Restaurant Association CEO receives distinguished award for outstanding hospitality and tourism contributions

posted on

At an awards gala on Thursday 6 December, Marisa Bidois – Restaurant Association of New Zealand CEO – was presented with the Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality and Tourism Community Award by AUT.

AUT’s School of Hospitality and Tourism holds an awards event every year to acknowledge its top students and to recognise industry achievements. The Award recognises outstanding performance, and is a recognition of contributions toward raising the standard of hospitality in New Zealand and increasing awareness of New Zealand as a cuisine destination.

Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Community Award

AUT Head of Department Hospitality David Williamson says the awards are an important recognition of outstanding achievement by the school’s top students and the industry awards ‘close the circle’.


“Now, by adding the industry awards, the event is celebrating both the excellence of the young graduates, just starting their careers, and the achievements of  ‘legends’, who have graduated in the past. This way both the future and the legacy of the school is celebrated and recognised.”


These successful people exemplify a gateway into an exciting, challenging and rewarding career option and they offer a great example to inspire and motivate young professionals joining our industry.

The recipients of this Award have actively worked to strengthen, promote and enrich the hospitality community. This year, Marisa Bidois was presented this honour for her outstanding contributions to the hospitality industry, alongside Joseph Casalme for his work in the events industry.

Marisa was selected for her ongoing commitment in promoting excellence within the hospitality industry, which has included not only lifting the standards of restaurant service, but also employment practice and education outcomes.

The Award recognises Marisa’s work within hospitality education through a wide range of partnerships including the Ministry of Social Development and the School of Hospitality and Tourism at AUT.


“To be recognised by your industry peers is a real honour. This is a tough industry to work in but I am motivated by my passion for the industry and a commitment to help hospitality businesses deliver the very best service they can to New Zealanders. I am humbled to be given this award and look forward to continuing my work.”


As a long-term supporter of the School of Hospitality and Tourism at AUT, Marisa holds a seat on the Hospitality Industry Partnership Board. In working with the school, Marisa provides opportunities for student learning through their work-integrated learning placements and postgraduate research projects. Over the years, Marisa has attended countless orientation sessions, guest lectures, expert panels and awards ceremonies.

Since its inception in 2015, this Award has had 9 previous outstanding recipients across the tourism, events, and hospitality industry including David Comery, Judith Tabron, Krishna Botica, Simon Gault, Tony Astle, Michael Meredith, Jason Hill, Lindy Christian, and Paul Dunlop.

Each recipient of this Award have contributed in their own way to their field of practice, New Zealand society and education.

Back to News